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Download PDF by Janet Dine, Andrew Fagan: Human Rights And Capitalism: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

By Janet Dine, Andrew Fagan

Human Rights and Capitalism brings jointly very important aspects of the globalisation debate and examines the advanced dating among human rights, estate rights and capitalist economies.

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Additional info for Human Rights And Capitalism: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Globalisation (Corporations, Globalisation and the Law Series)

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Others, however, held that commerce placed limits on the abuse of political power. Lockean natural-law arguments against the abuse of power by governments were replaced by utilitarian arguments. The mercantilist state was replaced by the capitalist society. If there was a ‘bourgeois revolution’, it occurred, not in the seventeenth century, as Donnelly proposed, but in the eighteenth, when ‘commercial society’, which had funded the mercantilist state, became an independent and opposing social force.

This does not amount to the justification of capitalism, but it is consistent with a moderate, regulated form of capitalism. Nevertheless, Marshall suggests that the Two Treatises may have been addressed primarily to the gentry, the yeomanry and urban merchants, rather than to the artisans and tradesmen as proposed by Richard Ashcraft (Marshall 1994: 264–5; Ashcraft 1986). This may be a ‘bourgeois’ audience, but its enemy was the king, not the aristocracy. The Two Treatises defend property and freedom against absolute monarchy.

Capitalist organizations are consequently, on this view, subject to human rights obligations. These obligations should be re-affirmed because, in practice, capitalist organizations are often deeply involved in the politics of human rights violation (Le Billon 2000). Corporations work too closely with governments, and profit too much from this relationship, plausibly to deny responsibility for human rights violations that may result. Some corporations now recognize this, and have begun to develop the concepts of the corporate citizen and corporate responsibility, although it is still too early to know what the practical implications of this will be.

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